Don't worry—I wear a Hawaiian shirt when I teach, too.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one of the premier poets of the Romantic era. He and William Wordsworth's book of poetry Lyrical Ballads both kick started and defined the romantic movement in literature for a generation, and his poems "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan" (which beats out the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" for the title of best literary drug trip) are still taught today in high school. My high school, anyways. What is less well known is how that he coined the term "willing suspension of disbelief." A lot of people are familiar with the phrase, but few seem to understand what Coleridge actually meant by it. He was referring to a writer's ability to weave a the imaginary and fantastical in a story in a realistic enough way so as to get the reader to put at least part of his abilities to discern the difference between real and unreal on hold long enough to be entertained by the unfolding narrative. Recent years have seen the popular conception of the term twisted a bit, however. It's been reinterpreted in the past few decades, however. Now most people define it as the audience's willingness to consciously leave common sense and reason at the door and simply accept what is presented as credible. The difference may seem subtle, but the definition is completely altered. The original requires the story to have enough logical ties to the real world to keep the reader believing. The more modern version puts all the responsibility for pulling the story off on the audience.
Yeah, It could happen
Not only could I not buy that scene, but its absurdity shattered the illusion of the rest of the movie for me. My friends may have enjoyed it, but all I got from the visit to the theater was some overpriced, albeit delicious, popcorn between my teeth.
If you haven't seen the connection I'm forming, our experience at the Baptist Church we visited where everyone was praying to a loving God to help them believe in him before they were killed via nuclear annihilation and condemned to an eternity of torment was my religious leaping-out-of-an-airplane-in-a-rubber-raft moment. They took it too far, and the suspension of disbelief they had lulled me into up until that point was shattered by an absurd and obvious left turn from reality. And once it was broken, all the other illogical and irrational aspects of belief that I had willingly ignored to that point now stood out like they'd been highlighted with a bright yellow marker.
And like that movie, many people who know about my lack of belief now tell me that the fault lies with me. I'm not willing to believe. My heart isn't open to the word of God. If I would simply put a little more effort into it, I could regain my faith.
I wish people would at least be as honest with themselves as my buddies were after The Temple of Doom and say what is really required.
I'm expected to shut off my brain and roll with it.